A COUPLE celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with 50 family and friends.

John and Gwen Bishop from Chalk Farm Road, Stokenchurch were married at St Mary Magdalene Church, Shabbington on June 7, 1954.

To celebrate their diamond anniversary they had a lunch party at Phyllis Court in Henley on June 7, where family from Canada also made the trip to be there.

The following day they had a smaller family gathering at The Spread Eagle in Thame, where they had their wedding reception, and went on a short break to Jersey.

The couple, who are 81, have lived in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire all of their lives- Gwen lived in Shabbington when they met and John lived in Watlington.

They were 17 when they started to get to know each other.

Gwen went to Thame Girls Grammar School and would cycle past Lord Williams's School in Thame, where John went to, on her way home.

She was off school for a while as she was ill and he wrote a letter to her. Gwen said: "He wrote to me and said, 'Hurry up and get better' and that was how it all began."

John was called for national service when he was 18, and they got married just before their 22nd birthdays, which are a month apart.

When they first married they lived in Henley and moved to Stokenchurch in 1976, when John, who was a policeman, was promoted to superintendent.

They have two children, Nick and Julia, and two granddaughters, Imogen, 14 and Tabitha, 12.

They are both very active in many local societies including the Royal British Legion and Women's Institute. They are keen gardeners and John is president of the National Sweet Pea Society.

So what is the secret to a long and happy marriage? Gwen said: "We are good friends. We get on well together. I think that is half the battle. We can talk to each other about anything. If you can keep good friends then you are half way there."